Top 10 Most Famous Chinese Tea

Written by Sally Guo Updated Apr. 7, 2021

Chinese people have a shared history of tea drinking, said to be about 5,000 years old. With six major types and hundreds of varieties of tea, there are various opinions on the top ten teas in China.

The most widely accepted suggestion, however, is West Lake Longjing, Dongting Biluochun, Anxi Tieguanyin, Huangshan Maofeng, Wuyi Rock Tea, Junshan Yinzhen, Keemun Black Tea, Yunnan Puer, Baihao Yinzhen, and Lu'an Guapian.

1. Longjing (Dragon Well Tea)

West Lake Dragon Well Tea has a history of over 1,200 years. It is produced in the mountainous regions around Longjing Village to the southwest of West Lake in Hangzhou city, Zhejiang Province.

Longjing is distinguished by four qualities: color, fragrance, flavor, and shape. It is emerald in color, full of fragrance, sweet and refreshing, and in the shape of a sparrow’s tongue.

Longjing contains amino acids, catechu, and vitamins, which have the effect of stimulating the production of body fluid, quenching thirst, refreshing, enhancing concentration, digesting food, reducing cholesterol, diminishing inflammation, and detoxification.

Good places always grow high-quality tea. West Lake is the most famous attraction in Hangzhou. Why not take a tea culture tour to taste the most authentic Longjing and admire the breathtaking scenery of West Lake? Click Essence of Hangzhou Tour.

West Lake Dragon Well Tea
West Lake Dragon Well Tea

2. Biluochun (Green Spiral Tea)

Biluochun is produced in the eastern and western mountains of Dongting in Wu County, Jiangsu Province. It was used as a tribute to emperors of the Tang dynasty (618-907) and enjoys a history of over 1,000 years.

From March to mid-April every year, tea is picked when the tea shoots have grown to one to two centimeters in length. As the fresh leaves increase in tenderness, the dried finished tea has more pekoe, and the resulting tea is of better quality.

The finished tea appears tight and slender, but is fresh and refreshing, and stimulates the production of body fluid. It is verdant and clear, with a sweet aftertaste.

The name biluochun comes from ‘verdant’ (bi in Chinese) and ‘trumpet shell’ (luo in Chinese).

If you would like to hear tea experts talking about biluochun, its history, and how to make it, and would like to watch the whole production process, you can TAILOR-MAKE a Dongting Biluochun Tour with China Travel.


3. Huangshan Maofeng (Yellow Mountain Fur Peak)

Maofeng tea from Yellow Mountain has been famous from the time of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) and has a history of about 140 years. The tea leaves are covered with white hairs (mao) and their tips are shaped like mountain peaks (feng), leading to the name Maofeng.

Drinking Maofeng every day will help with fitness, slow down aging, be good for skin, cheer people up, have antibacterial effects, and so on.

Famous mountains produce famous tea. Yellow Mountain is famous for four wonders: wondrous old pines, oddly-shaped rocks, hot springs, and the sea of clouds shrouding the mountain. On the top of Yellow Mountain, visitors will see clouds under their feet. It feels like being in heaven.

Take a 4-Day Classic Yellow Mountain Tour to get a glimpse of how Maofeng grows there.

4. Tieguanyin (Iron Goddess)

Anxi Tieguanyin belongs to the highest grade of oolong tea and has a history of over 200 years. It is produced in Yaoyang town of Anxi County, Fujian Province.

This tea is harvested four times a year. The spring tea is picked when summer begins, the summer tea after the summer solstice (June 21 or 22), the heated tea after the great heat, and the autumn tea before the White Dew (Sep. 7, 8, or 9). Of these, spring tea is best.

The finished tea product is curly, fat and bold, round, tight, heavy and neat in appearance, glossy in color and pure, thick, sweet, and fresh in taste. It has long enjoyed a good reputation as the king of teas. It has the effect of purifying the heart, brightening the eyes, preventing arteriosclerosis, and reducing fat and weight.

tie guanyin
Anxi Tieguanyin

5. Wuyi Yancha (Wuyi Rock Tea)

Wuyi Rock Tea is the best-known oolong tea, only produced in the Wuyi Mountain region of Fujian Province. The trees grow among rocks, leading to the name Rock Tea (Yancha).

Wuyi Rock Tea is a semi-fermented oolong tea. The manufacturing process is somewhere between the process for green and red tea. So it has characteristics of both green and black tea: the clean and fresh flavor of green tea, the sweet and mellow fragrance of black tea.

Big Red Robe tea (Dahongpao 大红袍) is the best type of Wuyi Rock tea, with a history of over 300 years.

Wuyi Rock tea is renowned as a slimming, tonic, and cosmetic tea. It has the effect of purifying the heart, reducing pathogenic fire, invigorating the blood, strengthening the heart, and promoting the discharge of urine. It is regarded as good medicine, with no side effects, for preventing cancer.

Big Red Robe tea
Big Red Robe Tea

6. Junshan Yinzhen (Junshan Silver Needle )

Silver Needle from Junshan is a representative yellow tea that was discovered by chance when making green tea. People found that if leaves were not dried promptly after being finished, kneaded, and twisted, they would turn yellow in color, forming yellow tea.

From ancient times to the present, Junshan Yinzhen has been reputed as having distinctive qualities in respect of color, fragrance, flavor, and oddity.

The finished Junshan Silver Needle tea has bold, heavy and straight buds with feather-like white hair. The shoots are golden and bright, thus enjoying the good name of "gold inlaid with jade". The tea is fragrant and tender, apricot yellow, bright and clean, with a sweet, pure, and refreshing taste. The leaf bottoms are flat, thick, even, and bright.

7. Qimen Hongcha

Keemun Black Tea is produced in Qimen County of Huangshan city. Crowned as the queen of black tea, it tastes winy and fruity.

Keemun Black Tea is a famous Chinese tea with a relatively short history of about 140 years. It was first produced in 1875 and soon gained popularity in England. It has even become the favorite drink of the British queen and royal family.

Keemun black tea should be picked around the Qingming (Tomb Sweeping) Festival, usually in early April, and requires a very particular process. It is baked in a sealed room and heated at low temperatures to bring out the fragrance of the leaves. The color is jet black, with a shade of gray.

Qimen County is west of Yellow Mountain. After visiting the gorgeous Yellow Mountain scenery, visitors can taste the high-quality Qimen Black Tea in Qimen County.

8. Yunnan Pu'er

Yunnan Pu'er
Yunnan Pu'er

Produced in Pu'er, Xishuangbanna, and Simao in Yunnan Province, Pu'er tea has a very long history.

There was already trading of Pu'er tea between the Central Plains and Kangzang Area during the Tang dynasty (618-907). Pu'er tea uses the fresh leaves of Yunnan broad-leaf tea trees. The special technique of splashing and pile fermentation during processing leaves the finished tea with a unique and mature aroma.

Pu'er tea reduces cholesterol, reduces weight, promotes digestion, helps to sober up and relieve internal heat, etc. After feasting on meat and wine, people often drink a cup of Pu'er to promote digestion, sober up, and refresh themselves.

Pu'er tea is popular in many nations as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao. It is alternately called beauty tea, slimming tea, or longevity tea. After being steamed and pressed, Pu'er can be made into Pu'er Tuo Tea, Seven Son Cake Tea, or Pu'er Brick Tea.

Yunnan is a unique place full of charms. You can not only taste the most authentic Pu'er tea there but also enjoy the wild beauty of rainforests and animals, as well as the enthusiasm of local ethnic groups in Xishuangbanna.

9. Baihao Yinzhen (White Hair or Pekoe Silver Needle)

Baihao Yinzhen is called Silver Needle for short and also named pekoe. The finished product consists mostly of shoots covered with pekoes as white as silver and as slender as needles, whence its elegant name.

Pekoe tea is the only one belonging to the highest grade of white tea. With a history of more than 200 years, it is on a par with Junshan Silver Needle tea and has served as a royal tribute during past dynasties.

The finished product of Silver Needle tea has fat and bold shoots covered with white hair. It is bright white in color and glittering like silver. It is long and straight like a shuttle and needle. The tea is clear and bright, and light apricot-yellow in color.

Once in the mouth, the light fragrance appears. It tastes sweet, pure, and fresh. It is cold in property and thus has the effect of relieving internal heat, keeping fevers down, and reducing pathogenic fire. It is regarded as good medicine for curing measles.

10. Lu'an Guapian (Lu'an Melon Seed Tea)

Lu'an Guapian
Lu'an Guapian

Lu'an Melon Seed tea is a green tea specialty produced in Lu'an city of Anhui Province. The tea leaves are flat and oval, like melon seeds, hence the name.

Among all the tea in the world, this is the only tea made from single leaves instead of new buds or stalks. The central veins on these leaves are removed and are pan-fried and shaped so that the tea will taste strong but not bitter, and full of fragrance.

Lu'an Melon Seed tea is picked between ten days before and after the Grain Rain (April 19, 20, or 21). Most green teas are produced from tender shoots but Lu'an Melon Seed tea uses the second and third leaves on the branch.

During the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), Lu'an Melon Seed tea was widely used to prevent sunstroke. It was often used as a tribute to the highest classes.

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